herald

Friday 14 December 2018

'Is Omagh any big fortress for us? There's no real history to suggest that it is'

Tyrone 4-24 Roscommon 1-12

KEY MAN: Tyrone’s Niall Sludden
KEY MAN: Tyrone’s Niall Sludden

Given the disparity in difficulty level between what his team had just done and what they will attempt to do next Saturday in Omagh, Mickey Harte spent more time looking forwards than backwards on Saturday evening Croke Park.

The visit of Dublin to Healy Park next Saturday was, Harte admitted, "something we never dreamt would happen".

The likelihood, however, was that Tyrone will take on the All-Ireland champions without their best man-marker, Cathal McCarron, although Harte sounded more optimistic about Colm Cavanagh's chances of playing, despite being taken off during last Saturday's 18-point rout of Roscommon.

"Cathal seems worse than Colm," Harte surmised, "Colm's was just a kind of a bang on the leg and he got a bit of a cut on it so it was sore more than anything, I think his should be all right to recover.

Honour

"I don't know the detail of Cathal's just yet but it seemed more serious because he wasn't able to go on when he got it.

"That's something we have to deal with."

If their form from Saturday - when Niall Sludden (1-2) and Richie Donnelly (1-4) were exceptional and Tyrone's running game appeared to hit a high-powered peak - holds, we could be in for a classic in Omagh on Saturday night (7.0).

Tyrone will host Dublin in a Championship match, the first team to have that honour since Longford in Pearse Park in 2004.

Harte, who has beaten Dublin twice in Croke Park in the Championship during his stint as Tyrone manager in 2005 and '08 was altogether less energised about the entire home/away fairness debate than many of his peers, however.

"I'm not sure that people can make so much out of this," he suggested, after watching his team dismantle Roscommon and score 4-24, taking their summer average above 24 points per game.

"I feel very comfortable in Croke Park, I think our players feel very comfortable in Croke Park.

"We'd love if it was our home game, we'd love to play in Croke Park as often as possible.

"It's a very unique place ... Dublin and Croke Park, that's where they are and that essentially becomes their home venue, so I have no issue with that.

"And I think anybody else that's playing the game should love to get playing at Croke Park. Is Omagh any big fortress for us? There's no real history to suggest that it is.

"But I suppose we never played a Championship game of this importance in it before so we'll see what we can do with that.

"But I won't be depending on the ground to get (win) this game for us," he added.

"We'll be depending on many other things," concluded Harte.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News